Title: Battle Ground (Dresden Files, #17)
Author: Jim Butcher
Publication date: September 29, 2020
Length: 432 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET SERIOUS FOR HARRY DRESDEN, CHICAGO’S ONLY PROFESSIONAL WIZARD, in the next entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files.
Harry has faced terrible odds before. He has a long history of fighting enemies above his weight class. The Red Court of vampires. The fallen angels of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. The Outsiders.
But this time it’s different. A being more powerful and dangerous on an order of magnitude beyond what the world has seen in a millennium is coming. And she’s bringing an army. The Last Titan has declared war on the city of Chicago, and has come to subjugate humanity, obliterating any who stand in her way.
Harry’s mission is simple but impossible: Save the city by killing a Titan. And the attempt will change Harry’s life, Chicago, and the mortal world forever.
Considering I’m up to volume 17 in the Dresden Files series, it’s safe to say that I’m a fan. And yet, I can’t give Battle Ground more than 2.5 stars.
Battle Ground is basically part two of the story begun in Peace Talks, the 16th book, published just three months earlier. I guess if they’d been combined, it would have made for one super massive book, so the publisher decided to break it in two — there’s really no other reason I can think of for not telling the entire story in one volume (and might have been a good opportunity to cut out some of the endless battle scenes…)
As you’d guess from the title, Battle Ground is all about a massive battle that threatens the destruction of Chicago, and from there, all of humankind. Our hero, Harry Dresden, charges in on the side of good alongside every ally he’s ever made, plus some former/future adversaries who’ve declared a truce for now in order to attempt to defeat the even worse bad guys.
Zzzzz…. oh, sorry, my eyes keep glazing over when I think about what a slog this book was.
If you like big, booming battles with lots of firepower, explosions, magical energy, and devastation of a major metropolis, you’ll probably love Battle Ground. As for me, a book that’s basically one long, extended battle for at least 80% of its length does not make for great reading.
I read the Dresden books for the characters, the escapades, the life-or-death struggles… but not never-ending action sequences where it’s almost impossible to tell who’s who or what awful creature has which awful powers, to be brought down by which even more awful weaponry. Sorry, but chapter after chapter after chapter of Harry throwing his power around, being outmatched, and then somehow soldiering on just doesn’t make for great reading.
There are some significant developments, including a major, heart-breaking loss, as well as the groundwork for what will likely be significant changes to come. And hey, 17 books in, of course I’ll keep going with the series. This particular book, though, just was not a stellar read for me.
Still, even though few and far between, there are still some great bits of Harry being a wise-ass that snapped me back to life in the midst of the more tedious firepower and spell-slinging, so I’ll close by sharing a few choice bits:
Then he made a fist and, carefully, bumped knuckles with me. The shock of it threatened to dislocate my shoulder again, but being all manly I didn’t make any high-pitched noises or anything. And you can’t prove otherwise.
“We didn’t see them until they got there! The foe has sneakily snucked a sneak attack behind our lines, like a sneaky sneak!”
I spun back to the enemy, brought my shield up—and stood tall. “You!” I said, relishing the moment. “Shall not! Pass!”
I’d never been in an epic mythology fight quite this epic before.
Don’t care how Titanic you are. No one expects an orbital-drop grizzly.